Puccini has been included in the 2015 Golden Mile nominations and is a genuine chance of contesting the Listed event at Bendigo on Saturday.
Puccini returned to Australian racing in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday and he was settled towards the tail of the field by jockey Craig Newitt in the early stages of the race, but was unable to work his way into the finish and he finished a disappointing 11th.
The Encosta De Lago entire has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney during The Championships, but trainer Peter McKay does not believe his star galloper is going well enough to warrant a start in either of those races and he told The Informant that he was leaning towards dropping the four-year-old back in class and distance for the Golden Mile.
“That’s the third time this season that he’s been unplaced at 2000 metres, so the obvious conclusion is that he now prefers 1600,” McKay said.
“Again on Saturday he got too keen at one stage and they ran it at a solid clip, so it could be that the shorter distance suits him.
“Jacob stayed with him over there and tells me he was bucking and squealing on Monday morning, so we’ve nominated him for the Golden Mile and we’ll take it from there.”
If Puccini takes his place in the 2015 Golden Mile field he will likely face a capacity field of 16 rivals after 36 gallopers were included in the nominations for the $150,000 race.
One of the most interesting horses in the Golden Mile nominations is Jake Stephens-trained Gris Caro, who has not been seen at the races since the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Gris Caro earnt a place in the 2014 Caulfield Cup field when he scored a narrow win over Entirely Platinum in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20, but he missed out on the Caulfield Cup due to injury and he has not been seen at the races since.
David Hayes and Tom Dabernig quinelled the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) last weekend with Spillway and Extra Zero and the stable is set to be well represented in the Golden Mille after including Guest Of Honour, Stipulate, Jacquinot Bay, Spacecraft and Northern Lyric in the nominations.
Other interesting Golden Mile nominations include imported galloper Calvin Williams, talented gelding Akavoroun and Darren Weir-trained Zabisco.